By Ferdinand Patinio

BIDDING. Commission on Elections (Comelec) spokesperson John Rex Laudiangco answers questions from the media during the opening of bids for the electronic transmission system to be used in the 2025 midterm polls at the Comelec main office in Intramuros, Manila on Thursday (Feb. 29, 2024). The poll body has declared two firms as eligible to bid for the project. (PNA photo by Ferdinand Patinio)

MANILA – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Thursday declared two joint venture (JV) firms as eligible to bid for the Secure Electronic Transmission Services (SETS) project to be utilized in next year’s midterm polls.

The Comelec-Special Bids and Awards Committee (SBAC) allowed the JV of EBizolution, Inc. – Secur Links Network and Technologies Inc.-Systems Information and Solutions Corporation (Ebiz), and the JV of Ione Resources Inc.-Ardent Networks, Inc. (Ione Resources) to participate in the bidding for the project with an approved budget for the contract (ABC) worth PHP1.638 billion.

In Resolution No. 1, the SBAC declared Ione Resources as having the lowest calculated bid (LCB) at PHP1.426 billion.

“The Technical Working Group (TWG) is hereby directed to subject the bidder with the LCB for said procurement project to post-qualification evaluation,” the SBAC said.

Meanwhile, EBiz tendered a bid of PHP1.628 billion.

Both companies are the only ones that submitted bids for the SETS project.

The SETS will be used to transmit election results using telecommunication networks.

It also includes the provision of data centers and connectivity requirements for the Automated Election System (AES) servers.

Meanwhile, Comelec spokesperson John Rex Laudiangco said the new SETS is set to make the quick count operations of poll watchdogs faster in the scheduled polls.

“The quick count operations will be faster as the PPCRV (Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting), Namfrel (National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections), LENTE (Legal Network for Truthful Elections) will have their own servers instead of sourcing it from just one. From their (own server), they can immediately start their quick count,” he said in an interview.

Quick counts are unofficial election results being conducted by poll watchdogs based on the transmitted election returns. (PNA)